Thursday, November 17, 2016

The Use of Virtual Reality in Higher Education

Virtual Reality is a hot topic we keep hearing about. It is engaging and provides an immersive experience for the user. At the EDUCAUSE Annual Conference, there was an interactive session dedicated to Virtual Reality and how other higher education institutions are using it. 

Participants at the EDUCAUSE conference try out different types of virtual reality headsets. 
Before you continue, it is important for you to know a few terms:

Virtual Reality (VR) - simulation of a three-dimensional image or environment that can be interacted with in a seemingly real or physical way

Augmented Reality (AR) - technology that places a computer-generated image on a user's view of the real world, thus providing a composite view.

Mixed or merged reality (MR) - merging of real and virtual worlds to produce new environments and visualizations where physical and digital objects co-exist and interact in real time

Have you ever imagined watching virtual reality stories or watching stories develop in front of you? With the NYT VR app now you can watch stories take place with Google Cardboard.

Other apps you can download to try with your VR headset include:
Within - VR storytelling
You Visit - Share memorable and interactive VR experiences
Jaunt - VR 360 experience
VRideo - Share and stream immersive video

During the VR workshop at the EDUCAUSE conference, there were several universities using VR on their campus. The most popular VR headsets were Google Cardboard, Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, Microsoft Hololens, and HTC Vive.

Schools have started building VR labs to promote student engagement and learning. The University of Minnesota created a Virtual Reality Design lab and the University of Southern California has a MedVR Lab for clinical purposes.

Where is VR, AR, and MR going in education?
VR, AR, and MR can be used for experiential learning, virtual field trips, social interaction, simulation, visual science, and problem based learning.

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